THE NUMBER of people detected for driving while under the influence of drink or drugs over the last 12 months has fallen by around 20 per cent.
Chief inspector Lindsay Tulloch told Thursday’s community safety and resilience meeting that 31 drivers were detected between April 2016 and March this year, which is a fall of seven from 2015/16.
The police chief said the number represented a genuine decrease as the amount of motorists being stopped was around the same as before.
However, a number of drink-driving cases dealt with by Lerwick Sheriff Court over the last 12 months had some very high readings.
Committee chairman Alastair Cooper asked whether the reduction was down to people avoiding drink before driving after the lowering of Scotland’s limit in 2014.
Tulloch said that “hopefully the message is getting through”, and added that police’s advice was not to drink at all before getting behind the wheel.
“There’s no way you can gauge how much a person can take and how that will impair them,” he said.
Cooper, however, questioned whether the issue is deep-rooted and raised the “cost to the community” drinking has on employers and the health board.
He pondered how the message could get across better in the community.
“Again you come back to the young folk,” Cooper said. “Can you get young folk educated?”
Tulloch said police could do more test purchasing, which investigates whether off licences sell alcohol to under-agers.
There was also a marked decrease in common assaults, dropping from 187 occurrences in 2015/16 to 133 in 2016/17.
Shetland south councillor and committee vice chairman Allison Duncan questioned whether this was due to less gas plant workers being stationed on the isles.
“That is certainly reflected in the figures,” Tulloch said. “There was a spike in common assaults in and around licensed premises.”
Also down were instances of threatening and abusive behaviour, breach of the peace, hate crimes and vandalism.
There were also decreases in the reporting of sexual crimes and domestic abuse incidents.
The number of people detected for speeding, however, was up by ten to 104.
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